Live Below the Line Challenge – My Grocery Purchases

lbtlI’m going to be doing my version of the Live Below the Line Challenge for the next 5 days. After reading about the Live Below the Line Challenge in a post at My Money Blog, I decided to to do the challenge myself.  The basic idea of the challenge is that you eat for $1.50 a day for five days.  The $1.50 a day represents the U.S. equivalent of the extreme poverty line.  The purpose of the challenge is to raise money to fight poverty.  I’ll be making a donation when I complete the challenge and if you want you can visit the challenge site and donate as well.

The official challenge is April 29-May 3, but I’m starting my challenge today.  This works out better for me since I’m impatient and want to start now.  Also I have CLEs next Wednesday and Friday with free food and since I these CLEs are expensive I want to get my full value out of them. My April Food Challenge was a failure but I think I can do this challenge since it is only 5 days.  According to the rules of the challenge the full cost of all items consumed must be included in the budget. This means I can’t buy a jumbo bag of rice and only count the cost of what I eat. That would make the challenge too easy.  The challenge does allow spices to be prorated or sharing food costs between people.  Too keep things simple though I just did one $7.50 shopping trip and that will be the only food I eat for the next five days.  I’ve listed the food I bought and the cost below.  I’m going to post every day of the challenge sharing what I ate for the day.



3 lbs x 29¢ $0.87


1 pound $0.99
Hot Dogs 1 pound $0.99

Total Cereal

 10.6 ounces $1.77

Chocolate Milk

1 quart $1.00

Pork and Beans

4 15 oz cans x 29¢ $1.16


5 ounces 39¢



The total came out to less than $7.50 but I’m not including sales tax.  I’ll probably add a little salsa to my burrito and that prorated cost would use up the remaining money.  It isn’t the healthiest menu although it is probably better than what I normally eat. I’ll be having cereal with a banana for breakfast and a hot dog and beans with carrots on the side for lunch and dinner four days. The last day I’ll be eating cereal twice and have the burrito for dinner. I have ten bananas so I can also have a banana as a snack sometime during the day.  I got chocolate milk because it was on sale for less than skim milk and I needed to stretch my money as much as possible.  I could have done this even cheaper by buying dry beans instead of pork and beans or just buying oatmeal instead of cereal and milk.  I’m lazy though and wanted stuff that was easy to make and I know I’d get tired of oatmeal after a couple of days.  I haven’t figured out the calories and nutrition yet.  I’ll share that information when I post my daily meals.

10 thoughts on “Live Below the Line Challenge – My Grocery Purchases”

  1. I know it’s not the nicest thing to say, but when I read about that challenge, I thought it sounded relatively easy. This is supposed to be extreme poverty? Besides sacrificing variety in your diet, I don’t see how bad it could be.

    • The main thing that makes it somewhat difficult is that you have to count the full cost of food used for the challenge. So I can’t just count the amount of eggs or pasta I use, I have to count the whole package. That definitely makes the challenge more difficult and doesn’t allow me much variety.

  2. Wow, very cool. What a great idea. I might just jump in and do the challenge as well. I am a couponer, so eating for a dollar a day, is not hard. But doing so paying full price, well, that is a challenge and a reminder of just how lucky we are in this country. Poverty still affords a variety of food. In some third world countries rice is the only thing on the menu, unless someone kills some sort of meat to go with the rice. I am putting up my coupons, and thinking how lucky I am right now to have food in stockpile. That has not always been the case. I think pasta will go a long way, along with lettuce, bananas a loaf of bread and American cheese for grilled cheese. Not sure how much all of this cost without coupons…but I love the inspirational post. Good luck.
    Good luck.

    • The menu didn’t end up being as healthy as I hoped. I wanted to have less processed food but the processed food was easier and cheaper. This menu is still better than what I usually eat.

  3. This look s similar to the Welfare Food Challenge that I participated in last year. I believe I had $26 a week to spend on groceries. I blogged about it each step of the way, recipes etc. Have a look and maybe that might sparks some frugal food ideas for you. I didn’t buy any processed foods that I remember. It wasn’t so bad but I could have made some better choices but overall I made it through. It was a boring menu but realistically that’s as good as it gets for some. It’s not always possible to add fruits and veg, and all the food groups. It takes time to build up a pantry but I learned that buying in bulk most times was cheaper than small bags. Good luck with this mate!!

    • Your menu is definitely better and healthier than mine. I didn’t do a great job of choosing food for the challenge. Luckily, I don’t have to live on a budget like this.


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